Tag Archives: Illinois law

Does It Matter If I Move Out Before Filing for Divorce?

Wheaton divorce lawyersRight this moment, you can probably think of at least one couple that you know who are living separately but who have not yet filed for divorce. When a couple is having marital problems, it is not uncommon for one spouse to find a new place to live while making decisions about the future of the relationship. This happens so frequently that most people would not consider filing for a divorce while continuing to live in the same home as their partner.

It is important to understand that just because something happens frequently does not make it a requirement. You might be somewhat surprised to discover that the law in Illinois previously required a period of living separate and apart prior to a divorce, but the requirement no longer exists. Today, a couple looking to get divorced could potentially do so without any type of separation at all.

An Antiquated Approach

Up until several years ago, a couple who wished to get divorced on the basis of irreconcilable differences—otherwise known as a “no-fault divorce”—was required by Illinois law to live separately for up to two years before the divorce judgment could be granted. Court rulings over the years clarified that the requirement of living “separate and apart” could be met while the spouses remained under the same roof, but in most cases, one spouse usually found a different place to stay. The law allowed couples to shorten the separation requirement to six months if both spouses agreed, but it could not be waived entirely.

Moving Forward

In 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) underwent a serious overhaul. As part of the reforms, Illinois legislators recognized that forcing a couple to wait in limbo for up to two years was unnecessary and often a waste of time. Starting on January 1, 2016, the separation requirement was removed altogether from the IMDMA. If a couple agrees on the necessity of the divorce, the case can be heard and finalized right away. If the couple does not agree but one spouse moves out, the court will accept a six-month period of living separate and apart as irrefutable proof of irreconcilable differences.

While the updated law is intended to streamline the divorce process, most couples who are headed for divorce will probably continue to separate first. The removal of the six-month minimum, however, will allow things to move faster in many cases. For example, if a couple splits up to consider their options, they may reasonably reach a decision within three months. Under the old law, they would still have at least three months to go before any real progress could be made. Today, they can move forward as soon as they make a decision to do so.

Call Us for Help

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about what the law in Illinois requires, contact an experienced Wheaton divorce attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, confidential consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.




Why You Might Object to the Divorce Venue Your Spouse Selected

venue, DuPage County divorce attorneysIf your spouse has filed a petition for divorce, he or she had the choice of where the file the petition. This means that your spouse selected the county in which the proceedings for your divorce will take place. You may be somewhat surprised to know that you are not necessarily stuck with the choice your spouse made. He or she may have initiated the divorce action, but you have the right to file an objection to the selected venue. You do, however, need to act quickly.

Understanding Venue

In the practice of the law, the word “venue” means the court system where a given case is heard. It can refer to a county court or a federal district court, but for a divorce in Illinois, a case will be heard in the circuit court of the selected county. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides that a divorce case should be held in the county where at least one of the spouses lives. For example, if the couple has separated, and the wife moved to DuPage County while her husband moved to Will County, the law presumes that the couple will for divorce in either of those counties.

With a valid reason, the petitioner can also select a county where neither of the parties lives. If, for example, the couple mentioned above spent most of their married life in Kane County, or both spouses work near the courthouse in Kane County, it could be argued that Kane County circuit court is a reasonable venue for their divorce.

The Issue of Jurisdiction

It is important to understand the difference between “venue” and “jurisdiction,” because the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. While “venue” refers to the court where a case is heard, “jurisdiction” refers to a court’s authority to hear a particular case. The IMDMA specifies that all county courts in Illinois have the jurisdiction to hear a divorce case, regardless of where in the state the parties live. This means that a court’s decision in a divorce cannot be appealed on the grounds that the particular county court lacked the authority to rule on the case.

When to Challenge the Venue

Your spouse may have chosen a specific venue for any number of reasons, including that he or she did not realize that there were options. If those reasons could give your spouse an unfair advantage during the proceedings, your attorney can help you file an objection. You may wish to contest the choice of venue if:

  • Your spouse is well known or has significant influence in a given county that could affect a court’s impartiality;
  • The chosen county court is known for ruling a certain way on particular divorce issues; or
  • The chosen county is unreasonably far away from you, making court appearances unnecessarily difficult.

If you choose to object to the venue, you must do in your response to your spouse’s filing. Motions regarding venue will not generally be heard once the case begins.

We Can Help

To learn more about the importance of venue in an Illinois divorce, or to challenge your spouse’s selection, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.





Reasons That Your Prenuptial Agreement Might Not Be Enforceable

prenuptial agreement, Wheaton family lawyers Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” are beneficial legal tools couples can use to manage and protect assets. Although they are often associated with celebrity marriages, prenups are not only for the rich and famous. Anyone can benefit from the protections offered through this valuable legal tool, but those who choose to create a prenup must be sure to do it correctly. It is not uncommon for a couple to think that they have a legally-binding prenuptial agreement only to discover it is unenforceable during a divorce. There are several circumstances which can invalidate a prenuptial agreement.

Prenups Must Meet Certain Criteria to Be Legally-Binding

You may remember the outrageous comedy movie Liar Liar. In the film, Jim Carrey’s character is a divorce attorney helping a less-than-ethical client divorce her husband. Although the movie is filled with exaggerations and inaccuracies, the clip in which the client’s prenuptial agreement is found to be invalid in court is fairly realistic. The client had entered into a prenuptial agreement with her husband upon getting married, but it was discovered that she was only seventeen-years-old when she signed it. Minors cannot enter into legally-enforceable contracts such as a prenuptial agreement. So, if one or both of the individuals were under age 18 upon signing the prenuptial agreement, it will not be valid.

Both Parties Must Fully Understand and Consent to the Prenuptial Agreement

Another way a prenup can be invalidated is if it was signed under duress. If one of the spouses was coerced into signing the document against his or her will, it cannot be used to make decisions about property during a divorce. Similarly, if a spouse was not mentally coherent when signing the document due to drugs, alcohol, illness, or for any other reason, it will not be legally-enforceable. A prenup can also be invalidated if both parties did not fully read and comprehend the document. If the prenuptial agreement contains lies regarding income or debts, it can also be thrown out.

A Prenuptial Agreement Must Be Reasonable

A prenup will not be enforceable if it contains “unconscionable provisions.” Unconscionable provisions refers to rule or directions which are grossly unfair or unethical. For example, a prenup which gives all the marital assets to one spouse while assigning all the marital debt to another will probably not hold up in court.

Contact a Qualified Wheaton Lawyer for Help Drafting Your Prenuptial Agreement

The only way to be completely certain that your prenuptial agreement is legally-binding is to have it reviewed by a licensed attorney. For help drafting or modifying a prenup, contact our team of highly skilled DuPage County family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group. Call us at 630-871-1002 today.